The new year is here and I still cannot believe it. 2014 came and went at a seemly quicker pace. The truth is that the speed of time as not changed. What has changed is how we experience it. We continue to allowed procrastination to decrease how much we achieve. We over think and neglect to take the actions that would allow us to attain more of our goals. As we second guess our decisions the universe continues forward at the same pace we found it. We are achieving less and the feeling that time is going by faster is just a reflection of our lack of focus on the important things.
For the new year we all should stop thinking and start doing. I am a parent and want to leave a better planet for my children. What are you planing to leave to your children? The discussion about climate change is just one of those issues where we could improve the world for our children. The facts are not in dispute, the climate of earth is changing. I do not dispute that human activity is the cause. If you dispute that I hope we can at least agree that the climate is changing.
With that in mind I would ask you, how do you think climate change will affect your children or grand children? I would suggest that the most likely direct effect will be on the quality and quantity of food and water available. The current estimate of people around the world going hungry is about one billion annually. Concurrent with that is the fact that some of the most productive agricultural areas are in regions whose water supply is dependent on seasonal rain and snow falls. It is already evident from current objective measurable data that these regions are close to breaking point in their water balance. The drought in California, which is the current bread basket of the United States is worrying. The gravity of the danger is not being addressed. But if the level of the water in Lake Mead Nevada is any example we should all be much more concerned.
Our water usage patterns are unsustainable and more forthrightly has led us to a very dangerous place. Agriculture is the primary user of water both for plant and animal production. Animal production is an especially egregious drain on our every decreasing available water sources. The continuing willful deafness of many of our leaders to the coming and already present crisis is criminal. The low intelligence of many of the people on mass media discussing the topic is genocidal in their effect. As we continue to neglect the obvious the problem worsens and the solutions become evermore burdensome. The unfortunate consequence is that the poor all around the world are already experiencing the trauma of food and water insecurity. Even the wealthier among us are being affected. The difference is that most of us can afford the increasing cost of our basic supplies. The larger question needs to be asked, what will happen when the squeeze truly gets to the richer among us?
I am of the scientific persuasion and believe that all the evidence points to mans central impact in leading to climate change. However, I will acquiesce to those who have not attain that clarity. I need only you agree that no matter the cause climate change is occurring and that we need to act to protect our global society.
I would suggest that we start by examining our consumption patterns. Change your lifestyle and change the world. We are all apart of the change that we need.
The debate around health care in our fair country as heated up again. The strange thing about the process is that the majority of the people commenting already have great insurance. They can afford to pay for great health care. The ACA is flawed and all should admit it, but it is not the cause of the chronic underperformance of our system. We have a closed unresponsive system that is constrained by an ill-informed electorate.
We need to exposed the entire system, both strengths and flaws, to the public. Doctors need to be in charge of care decisions and also need to be cognizant of the economic realities. Patients need to have realistic expectations, which should be set by their doctors.
Doctors need to stop listening to the ill-informed lobbyists. Those lobbyists are not working on our behalf, they are working for other economic interests. Doctors need to stand up and start voting our economic interests because the lobbyist are voting for their own. The interests of the lobbyist only rarely intersect with our own.
Let us take a stand together. Let us take a stand firstly for our patients and secondly for our own self interests.
I am often struck by the disconnect in our political life about what our government spends money on. We hear the clamor for reduced spending and the false equivalency to a household budget. The intellectual dishonesty of the argument is clear if only we would look even superficially. The budget of the American State is primarily about moving money from the coasts to the rest of the country. It is about paying off the rich for their service to the entrenched political class. Who is actually getting our money? Look at your representatives in congress to find the answers.
Our political system is a construct where there are three branches of government with supposed equality of power. However, on close inspection it is clear where the real power lies. It lies with the body that controls the purse. The budget of the US federal government is controlled by the congress. They are the holders of the passbook, they alone can authorize the use of funds. The lie that the President of the United States, whomever he is, controls spending is a lie told to the uninformed. Unfortunately the majority of the electorate is among that group and hence getting to the real problem in American government is not possible.
If we recognized the facts of the economics of the federal system the discussion would not be so hollow. First, we have a state welfare system in which the richer states support the poorer ones. This is how the poor southern states got money for new infrastructure while the states in the northeast cannot afford to maintain their own. In principle the richer states helping the poorer to better the circumstances of their citizens is an admirable goal. If we examine the post civil war era called reconstruction we can see where the interests of the south, the primary beneficiary of the federal transfers, lies. The current aversion to anything that would help the working poor comes directly from the language of that era. This disdain for the working poor is not new, the purveyors have just regained power. The south lost the shooting war but has won the long-term economic struggle. My analysis is rough and you may say without merit, but I suggest you take a closer look.
The entrenched political class is the congress of the United States of American. They need to be term limited. No congress person should be able to serve longer than the President of the Republic. The current system disengages the congress from the people they should be representing. The people who get representation are those with the economic ability to buy time with their representative. The resource poor many are left to the vagaries of the market, while the insiders are protected. Term limiting congress persons would be a great place to start in fixing the debacle called American Government.
I use to worry about privacy issues and the government’s ability to take our freedoms at a whim. Since the commercialization of the internet I no longer have those fears, because we already have no privacy. The current questions are; how is the data being used and do we have a right to know that our data is being mined? Many think that privacy equates to freedom, but it does not. Freedom is lost when the individual is unaware of her loss of privacy. I opposed “The Patriot Act” in 2001 and still do today. My problem is not that the government is allowed to violate our privacy, but that violation can be kept from us. The detergent of sunshine is needed everywhere.
That detergent has not been direct at the few large private sector data miners that control all our information. We live in a Capitalist society where markets function best with accurate and up-to-date data. Once you understand that fact the rest of the story is simple. If you want a functioning system you have to provide your data. Furthermore Capitalism should not be equated with democracy or freedom.
The proliferation of data mining by the private sector has not being noticed by the general population, but that dragnet is much wider and deeper that the government could ever be.
We have willingly and unwittingly given all our meta-data to large data miners. I am more concerned about them than I am about the government. The risk of nefarious use of your data is not limited to the government. The powers given to the government to spy is provided and voted on by the congress and directed by the congress. The only difference between the government and the private sector data miners is that the private section is going after your cash while the government is using it for security. I would like all of it to be disclosed.
I live by the open source philosophy. All data wants to be free and should be free. Not free as in no monetary value, but as in free to do as each individual chooses. I may not understand all the data collected, but if all of it is accessible to the general public the many eyes will keep the collectors in check. Each citizen is the check and the balance. In this age where data mining is so easy and valuable the political class no longer represents the individual.